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ASBFEO warns government against scrapping patent regime

Australia’s patent regime could soon be scrapped as the government moves to change IP laws.

ASBFEO warns government against scrapping patent regime
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • September 11, 2019
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The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has urged the government not to abolish the innovation patent regime, saying this would create a significant barrier to small businesses.

“It would be a mistake to phase out the innovation patent system without any replacement,” Kate Carnell said.

Acknowledging that the current system is not perfect, Ms Carnell said, “It’s the only viable way for SMEs to access temporary or short-term IP protections, which is essential, particularly when disputes arise.

“Abolishing the innovation patent system would effectively leave small businesses vulnerable to large businesses stealing their ideas and inventions.

“Small businesses face significant hurdles when trying to protect their IP rights. They don’t have in-house lawyers or patent expertise and often experience difficulties in accessing risk capital.”

The ASBFEO wants to see the government either improve the existing system or replace it with something better. She warned that by phasing out the current patent regime Australia risks serious ramifications for its economy, as small businesses will turn to imports rather than innovation. 

“Many small businesses rely on the innovation patent system to attract funding. Investors won’t even look at a company that doesn’t have those protections in place,” Ms Carnell said.

“Standard patents are more expensive and can take over two years to get. It’s just not a viable option for small businesses that want to protect their products.”

This week the Senate will debate the innovation patent as part of a suite of proposed intellectual property law changes.

"I urge them to support amendments stopping the abolition of the innovation patent regime," Ms Carnell concluded. 

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